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Momstagram Fave Liz Climo On The Making Of Her New Picture Book

by Liz Climo
You're Loved by Liz Climo, 2022, Roaring Brook Press

Hello! I’m Liz Climo, I’m an author, illustrator, and animator who spent many years working on The Simpsons. I also have a webcomic on Instagram where I draw animals navigating social situations in a sweet and (hopefully!) humorous way. My latest book, You’re Loved, is a lot like these comics, only in this case it’s from the point of view of baby animals and the grown-ups who love them. It’s a gentle reminder that, though life might seem big and scary at times, you are loved no matter what. And I'm going to walk you through the process of writing it. Let’s go!

Starting a new book is always a little intimidating for me, and this one was no exception. I wanted a strong image here — something endearing, but that also conveys how big and open the world must seem to a new baby. I knew I wanted the turtle looking directly at the reader on this first page, and it took a few tries to get the expression right. I’m happy with how it turned out, and I love how the baby is instantly connecting with you — but also looks slightly bewildered.

You're Loved by Liz Climo, 2022, Roaring Brook Press

I remember taking my daughter outside a lot when she was an infant. It always seemed to calm her down and reset her mood (if she was in the middle of a bad one). I also remember staring at her little face, thinking she was the sweetest, most objectively perfect baby I had ever seen. She’s eight now, and while I still find her to be perfect, I can finally look back at those old photos and admit: like most new babies, she was actually a screaming, sleep-protesting, milk-barfing agent of chaos (but the sweetest, most objectively perfect agent of chaos I’ve ever seen).

You're Loved by Liz Climo, 2022, Roaring Brook Press

As most parents and caretakers know, getting kids to eat can be a real challenge. We tried so hard to get our daughter to eat a wide variety of foods from a young age - from introducing different things early on, to going out to restaurants and ordering off the regular menu instead of the kid’s menu. Now, eight years later, after all that effort, her favorite foods range from “deep fried and shaped like a dinosaur” to “anything beige with melted cheese.” (Oh well - we tried!) This is probably my favorite illustration in the entire book, as it reminds me so much of those early years. (We even had that high chair!)

You're Loved by Liz Climo, 2022, Roaring Brook Press

For me, losing sleep was the hardest thing about being a new parent. It turns out, like most people, I really love a good night’s sleep. My infant daughter, on the other hand, did not love to sleep. In fact, she seemed to take sleep personally and avoid it at all costs. We got one of those video baby monitors, and I can remember looking at the screen, desperately hoping I’d see a baby sleeping soundly in her crib, but instead seeing two bright, glowing eyes, wide-awake and staring directly into my soul. This illustration was inspired by those long nights.

You're Loved by Liz Climo, 2022, Roaring Brook Press

The fennec fox parent in this book is 100% me. I am not a risk taker. I am a worrier and a worst-case-scenario catastrophizer. Part of parenting for me has been accepting that I have to let a lot of those fears go and let my kid be, well, a kid. The subtle arc of this character going from the ultimate worrier to its kid’s biggest cheerleader is reminiscent of how I’ve grown as a parent over the last several years. Also, while my daughter hasn’t tried skateboarding (yet) she loves trying new things, and has recently gotten really good at roller skating. I, of course, bought her a helmet and every pad I could find.

You're Loved by Liz Climo, 2022, Roaring Brook Press

This illustration is really special to me. About a year ago, my dear friend Edwin passed away, and this book is dedicated to him and to his three children. I wanted a character in this book to represent Edwin’s youngest son, Bodhi, and that’s who this sweet little hedgehog is. Edwin was the kindest, most caring person I’ve ever known. He made everyone he met feel safe, accepted and loved, and my hope was to capture some of that spirit with this book.

You're Loved by Liz Climo, 2022, Roaring Brook Press

You're Loved by Liz Climo, 2022, Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.